Saint Francis University will welcome superheroes, villains, and pop culture fans to a superhero carnival on 10/20 as part of the first ever “Superflash Week”. This event will begin at 5 p.m. with a parade of superheroes around the campus mall leading to a free superhero carnival from 5-7 p.m. in the JFK Lounge. The event will feature comic book artists, costumed characters, and game stations sponsored by campus clubs and organizations.
The carnival will be followed by a premier of Look to the Sky, a documentary about how young people have turned the inspirational message of Superman into positive change in the world. The film will be introduced by director Brett Culp.
Nominal fees generated by game stations ($1.00 or less) and donations for film attendance ($5.00 suggested) will benefit Second Chance Fundraising, a nonprofit started by Saint Francis alum Craig Smith. The campus organization raising the most funds for Second Chance Fundraising will be crowned “Superheroic Organization of the Year”!
According to event organizer and Saint Francis Instructor Kent Tonkin, Superflash is intended to showcase the hero in all of us.
“In addition to creating a fun event for the students and kids in the community, we wanted to remind folks that everyone has the ability to be super,” he states. “We all have the ability to be heroes in our own communities, schools, and families. We might not wear red capes and fly, but just about everyone can recognize when something needs to be done. A hero chooses to do it.”
This theme is echoed both in the feature film and beneficiary of the event. “Look to the Sky,” is a follow-up to Brett Culp’s popular documentary “Legends of the Knight”, a film about how the character of Batman inspired people to take action in the real world. Culp’s work resonates with the real life story of Second Chance Fundraising co-founder Craig Smith.
Smith, an SFU alumni, was the victim of a rare and life threatening heart infection. Three years after graduating from SFU’s Master of Business Administration program, he received a heart transplant, and changed his entire way of life, becoming physically active, quitting smoking, and feeling a renewed sense of purpose. It’s with this approach that he started Second Chance Fundraising.
“That entire event made me realize that our time here is finite,” said Smith. “I saw it as my renewed mission to try to be a helping hand to others and to pay back my good fortune in receiving a second chance!”
Smith’s charity raises funds for other charities, including organ donation awareness, medical assistance and college scholarships, and his renewed sense of purpose has not gone unnoticed. Bobby Anderson, Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development at SFU (and Smith’s former supervisor) notes how Smith has “become that someone”.
“Craig was always a great employee and person,” states Anderson, “but to see him living his mission is like watching Tony Stark become Iron Man!”
Culp’s previous film also featured Lenny B. Robinson, a “real-life” Batman who gave up a successful business career to perform inspirational visits with children dressed as the Dark Knight.
Robinson visited Saint Francis during a similar event, “Batflash Week,” in 2014 and tragically passed away a year later in an automobile accident. He will be remembered with a moment of silence prior to the screening of Look to the Sky. Event organizer and Associate Director of the Graduate School of Business Nicole Bauman speaks of the impact Robinson had in his brief visit.
“He was one of the most remarkably kind and real people ever to visit us,” she says. “He left a lasting impression on everyone he met, even if it was for only a minute. Lenny will always be SFU’s Batman.”
Superflash is sponsored by an endowment from the SFU Shields School of Business. School of Business Dean Dr. Randy Frye sees close ties between the themes in superhero comics and movies and SFU’s new slogan, “become that someone.”
“In my 30 plus years teaching, I’ve seen a lot of Peter Parker’s and Bruce Wayne’s come in the door and, in four years, they leave as Spiderman and Batman,” he says. “The purpose of higher education isn’t just to learn a skill or a trade, but to become the best ‘you’ possible. Our students truly are collectively ‘becoming that someone’.”